Books Like On The Road
The 1957 novel, On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, is considered to be one of the greatest road trip stories ever told. The idea of leaving home far behind and traveling across the country is something that many people yearn for, so it is no surprise that it is a common theme for books. With travel restrictions and social distancing still a thing in many parts of the world there are lots of readers who are turning to books for this type of escapism. Whether you are nostalgic about a road trip you took yourself or wish you could go on one, but lack the means here are a few books like On The Road to tide you over.
by Ann Garvin
I Thought You Said This Would Work by Ann Garvin is a funny and poignant road trip novel starring two former best friends. Samantha Arias and Holly Dunfee used to be friends, but something in their past put an end to that. However, when their best friend of twenty-five years, Katie, is hospitalized with cancer she asks her old college roomies for help with one little errand. All the two have to do is travel across the country together, steal a VW camper from Katie's loathsome ex-husband and then pick up her diabetic dog from a Utah rescue before driving him back home to Wisconsin. To make this whole road trip even stranger, Samantha and Holly end up picking a D-list celebrity along the way.
by Marcy Dermansky
The Red Car by Marcy Dermansky is the story of a woman named Leah. When her former boss and mentor, Judy, dies in an accident she leaves Leah her most prized possession in the form of a flashy red sports car. This shocks Leah into reevaluating her own life and she realizes that she doesn't love her husband and has a list of unfulfilled ambitions. From here Leah decides to return to San Francisco and claim the car while also delving into her past lives and loves. During the road trip, Leah attempts to rediscover herself but keeps hearing Judy's voice in her head throughout it all.
by Pete Hautman
Road Tripped by Pete Hautman sees Steven Gerald Gabal, or "Stiggy" as he is known, trying to get out of Minnesota. Pete feels that there is nothing left for him to stick around for after his father took his own life and his mother became a shell of the person who she used to be. To make matters worse, his sort-of-girlfriend ditched him and skipped town too. All of this prompts Stiggy to take his mother's credit card and set off in his dad's car armed with a tourist map of Great River Road. Stiggy soon discovers that life on his own isn't exactly what he expected it would be either, though, and has to choose between running away from his demons or taking them back home with him.
by Margo Rabb
Two teens, Eva and Annie, go on a road trip across the country in Kissing in America by Margo Rabb. Eva is only sixteen years old, but since the death of her father two years prior she has found solace in reading romance novels. The romantic fantasies that she picks up from these books become a reality when she meets a boy named Will who can relate to her grief. Unfortunately, Will picks up and moves to California with barely any warning, leaving the love-stricken Eva behind. However, she is not willing to give up her first shot at real life, which prompts Eva to take the road trip across America with her best friend Annie in tow.
by Brendan Kiely
Two seventeen-year-old teens, Hendrix and Corinna, take the center stage in The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely. Their road trip begins due to an impossible promise that Hendrix has made to his grandfather, Gpa. Because he is suffering from Alzheimer's he wants to go back east to the hill where he first kissed his wife. Since his dad is dead and his mother is married to her job Hendrix considers Gpa to be his only real family and will do anything to keep the promise he made him. So, one hot July night Hendrix teams up with Corrina who is just as eager to escape from her suffocating adoptive parents and steal a car. The two spring Gpa from his assisted living facility and embarks on their cross-country road trip from LA to NY, but Gpa's doctors and the police are not going to let them get away that easily.
by Andrew Smith
Finn Easton, the sixteen-year-old protagonist of 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith, sees the world a little differently. Instead of minutes, he makes sense of the world through miles. It is also how Finn tries to convince himself that he's not just a character of the same name in his father's bestselling cult-classic novel. Unfortunately for Finn the first girl he's ever loved, Julia Bishop, moves away leaving Finn heartbroken. However, along with his best friend, Cade Hernandez, Finn embarks on a road trip to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. Finn considers it the best way to stop feeling restless, but then the two boys become unlikely heroes after an unexpected accident happens during their road trip.
by Albert Borris
Most road trip novels feature characters trying to discover themselves along the way or in search of adventure, but things are a little darker in Crash Into Me by Albert Borris. In this story, four teens meet online after their failed attempts at suicide. It is here that they make a pact to escape together on a summer road trip where they will visit the graves of celebrity suicide. They plan to then end their lives when they reach their final destination, but during their cross-country road trip, they begin to share their deepest secrets and desires while bonding over their dark impulses.